Senior corporate communications major Jaime Ramos has been accepted into the Peace Corps. His mission is to work with low-income Peruvian students in South America. Ramos will be stationed in South America for two years and three months.
“I cannot wait to make a difference in the community that I will being living in,” he said. “I am excited to change the lives of the students that I will be working with in South America.”
Ramos became interested in the Peace Corps after speaking with his Spanish professor. She encouraged him to have a second option in mind, if he does not receive a Fulbright Scholarship. His professor recommended looking into the Peace Corps. Ramos did not know much information about the program before he spent time researching it.
“I instantly fell in love with their mission and what they stand for,” he said.
The Peace Corps has multiple volunteer opportunities available. Ramos was interested in becoming a Youth Development Facilitator. The main objectives of this position, according to the Peace Corps website, are that a volunteer should build life skills, self-esteem and help them engage in extracurricular activities.
Ramos felt that he met the criteria they were looking for in potential Youth Development Facilitators. Volunteers in this category need to have experience speaking Spanish at an intermediate level, working with low-income individuals ranging from the ages of 14-20 and have high extracurricular engagement. Ramos has since been accepted for this position and he is looking forward to the experience.
“I am looking forward to continue doing what I have been at E-town for the past four years and bringing it with me to enhance the lives of the youth of Peru,” he stated.
To prepare for his work, Ramos intends to read at least two books about Peru. He wants to learn more about the country, the people and the Peruvian culture. Before he studied abroad in Valladolid, Spain, he spent time researching about the culture and customs and found it to be helpful.
“I also want to learn how to cook traditional and other cultural dishes that people of Peru eat,” Ramos said. “It might not be the best, but I want to immerse myself in the types of food I will have while I’m there.”
Additionally, Ramos is planning to take more Spanish courses over the summer at his local community college.
“I am going to spend a lot of time practicing my Spanish, especially my grammar,” he noted. Ramos is looking forward to being stationed in Peru.
“I am so excited to go to South America since I have never been there before,” he stated. “I am looking forward to living in Peru—it is one of the most gorgeous and outspoken countries in South America.”
Ramos is most nervous about the culture shock of the country.
“It is nerve-wracking to think that I will pack my bags for the next two years and hope for the best,” he explained. “I am really excited though. I know that this is something that I am born to do.”
Ramos says that he will miss his family while he is doing work for the Peace Corps.
“Four months for studying abroad was a long time to be away from them, but multiplying that by five is an even longer time to be apart,” he explained.
When his family first heard that Ramos wanted to volunteer for the Peace Corps, they were worried for his safety. His older sister was worried for familial reasons.
“I’ve grown up with a Puerto Rican family and to my culture; family is the most important thing,” Ramos said. “You don’t leave your family for extended amounts of time because you don’t know how long you have here.”
Once Ramos got accepted, his family was very excited for him and proud of him.
“My family knows how much I care about my mission and that I’m leaving for a really good cause,” he said. “It’s been a mix of feelings, but at the end of the day, my family is happy for me.”
At E-town, Ramos has been highly involved in extracurriculars and jobs. These include track and field, Cru, E-motion, Purposeful Life Mentoring, ALANA Mentoring, Kinesis Advisor and being a Jaywalker. Ramos believes that doing these activities has helped him in his time at E-town.
Ramos deems his most influential professor as Director of Prestigious Scholarships and Fellowships and Student Transition Programs Jean-Paul Benowitz. Ramos had professor Benowitz for his first-year seminar course.
“His class inspired me not only to think about history, but it helped me set the tone for my journey at E-town,” Ramos said. “He pushed me academically and I have never worked harder. He inspired me to work hard inside and outside of the classroom.”
Ramos works under Professor Benowitz as a student advisor for first-generation college students. Ramos loves the position and has been doing it since his sophomore year.
Ramos’ best advice to college students is to start saving up money early so that one will be able to find a place to live after college.
“Don’t stress too much about your first job, it will come,” he stated. “What is more important is to find something that you are passionate about.”
“You’ve worked so hard to get your Etown degree, since our course load is rigorous, so make sure your job is meaningful to you and exciting!” Ramos continued.
Please note: Staff writer, Brianna Titi, originally wrote this article for The Etownian published on March 1, 2018. The Etownian is Elizabethtown College’s student newspaper. Click here to view the original article.
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